Finally after ten years of dreaming I am actually here in Costa Rica!! Coming from Vancouver Island, British Columbia I discovered that Costa Rica is not an easy place to get to. I travelled on four airplanes from Vancouver Island to Vancouver, then on to Los Angeles, next to Houston, and from there on to San Jose Costa Rica. Layovers in airports totalled many hours, and then there was a four-hour drive from San Jose down to Ojochal! It’s amazing how quickly those jet lagged memories fade upon finally arriving at my destination - wow it was definitely worth the trip.
Because it is really hilly where I am, there are impressive views of the surrounding jungle right down to the ocean. But that means climbing these hills on my daily walks with Jack the fun loving golden retriever. This morning for our first walk we went down some hills to a river where the Jack splashed around. On our way back we went up this great hill - OOPS wrong way - back down the hill and then back up another hill to get home. That was some hike, especially for my first one in this heat. Now I carry a hand drawn map with me until I know my way around.
May is very humid here and hot especially if you are walking. The sweat drips into your eyes. I now know that walking Jack at 5:30 am is the best way to beat the heat. The sun is up at 5 am and sets around 6 pm, but curiously it is never pitch black with the shapes of the hills and trees always visible.
For my first night in paradise I was in bed by 9 pm, lulled to sleep by the sounds of the jungle, and slept like a log. Despite warnings that howler monkeys start their growling sounds at 5 am I didn't notice much this morning (guess I was very deep in lala land around that time). Each morning I wake early and lay in bed enjoying the views and letting the sounds of the forest wash over me. Because the bedroom is on the upper level of the house surrounded on all sides by large windows, there are views from all sides of mountains, forests, and the ocean.
This morning two birds with vivid yellow markings alighted on the branches of a nearby tree. These Chestnut-Mandibled Toucans would be hard to miss - the first ones I have seen in Costa Rica. What impressed me most, beyond this beautiful vision, was their freedom . . . no clipped wings, no cages, no restrictions. My way to experience this country has been to slow down and let it wash over me like the gentle mist coming down from the mountains.
Here it is best to get all your errands and running around done in the morning so that you arrive back home by 2 or 3 pm because at this time of the year that is when the rain starts and it can continue through the night. And when in Costa Rica you will need access to a car for visiting the weekly markets and touring around. Make sure to try Zip Lining - it is such great fun! My running around was done on a 4-wheel drive ATV, the vehicle of choice by people living in the hills, and mine was only licensed for driving within the town. Roads in the hills are rough, dirt and gravel with many potholes, and are really hard on your car. But driving an ATV is very liberating - and by taking Jack on ATV runs up and down the hills, I discovered it was one of his favourite things.
I swam in the ocean, learned to drive an ATV, taught a raw food class, dined in three of the five 5-star restaurants within the town of Ojochal, was welcomed into the expat community, took a permaculture class, visited the local markets, and best of all went zip lining!
Costa Rica has it all - from tropical rainforest, a simmering volcano, cloud forests, beaches, to surfing, hiking, and waterfalls. It is well worth the visit - there is so much more to do - I'll be back!